Thursday, January 28, 2016
On Wednesday this week, the International Criminal Court (ICC) authorized the Prosecutor to open an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Georgia between July and October 2008 during the Russian-Georgian conflict. The alleged crimes were committed by three different parties to the conflict - the Georgian armed forces, the South Ossetian forces, and the Russian armed forces.
Georgia joined the ICC in 2003 and is therefore subject to the Court's jurisdiction and obligated to cooperate with the Court. Russia is not a party to the ICC Statute. However, the ICC has jurisdiction to investigate alleged crimes that occurred on Georgian territory. Under the principle of complementarity, the ICC did not have jurisdiction to proceed, however, until it was determined that the national authorities were either unable or unwilling to investigate and prosecute. As domestic proceedings in Georgia have been indefinitely suspended, that condition has now been satisfied. Proceedings relating to the conflict are also ongoing in the European Court of Human Rights.